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West Ranch's Hannah Green: Resistance is fuel

West Ranch senior gets a thrill from blocking shots

Posted: January 15, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 15, 2013 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch senior power forward Hannah Green has developed into one of the best shot blockers around. She stuffed an average of 4.7 shots per game last year. This season, she's added more of an offensive game as well.

 

From her New York City room, 2012 All-Santa Clarita Valley and Foothill League player of the year Megan Dawe can remember the faces she made.

She laughs, explaining that those were faces of frustration.

A dominant force at 6 feet, 1 inch tall with the ability to score in bunches, Dawe was the valley’s premier girls basketball player last season.

Now a freshman in college, she is putting up the best numbers at New York University.

But last year, West Ranch’s Hannah Green was her source of frustration.

“She’s really aggressive. I know that was one of her biggest strengths. She’s always going the entire time,” Dawe recalls of Green. “You constantly have to be worried about where she is. She blocked my shots so many times in that game. Her long arms were constantly something I had to worry about going for a shot.”

That 2012 game, Green had seven blocks against Dawe’s Saugus team.

Those long arms measure 6 feet, 4 inches in a wingspan.

That aggressive nature is the senior’s staple.

And no one over the last two years in the Foothill League takes more pleasure in blocking shots or being as tenacious as her.

“I’ve always had a motor for any sport. I’m so competitive. I get in this mind set for any sport,” Green says, leading into her passion for blocking shots. “Blocking a shot, it feels so good. I can’t explain the feeling when I block a shot. I feel like you can’t score against me, without sounding arrogant. It fuels my fire, fuels my adrenaline. If I block a shot, I can go for hours.”

Numbers and accolades can’t paint the picture of Hannah Green, though they’re impressive.

Last season, the power forward averaged 8.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 4.7 blocks per game.

According to Maxpreps.com, she led all California Division I players in blocks per game.

She was recognized as an All-SCV and All-Foothill League first-teamer.

But to watch Green is to know that the word motor describes who she is.

She never — an emphatic never — stops on a play. Green is all over the court and keeps her body straight when defending in the air.

She never swats the ball when attempting a block. Rather, she tries to bring the ball down with her so that your team’s possession is now West Ranch’s possession.

“One game where she was on one side of the lane, someone was open for a layup on the opposite block. That girl got the ball and Hannah ran all the way from the elbow to the opposite block to block the shot. She blocked the shot,” says West Ranch head coach Randy Smith. “She thinks she’s capable of making every play and tries on every play. There are players who don’t think they can so they don’t try. She tries.”

Smith says for all the tenacity she shows in games, she shows the same in practice.

She’ll rip the ball out of a teammate’s hands in practice, block their shots and make them have second thoughts about coming into the paint.

All these previous words describe a giant basketball player.

Green is 6 feet tall.

That’s it.

She’s lean, maybe even lanky.

But her desire outweighs her opponents’ desire.

“In my mind, when there’s a player that’s supposed to be bigger than I am, if I shut them down, how can they be a better player than me?” Green says her mind set is when playing against girls who are better known.

That competitive nature has always been inside of her, though she doesn’t know why.

She played basketball from the age of 6 to 11, then gave it up in favor of skateboarding — one of the most fearless sports there is.

Green says she could spend hours on a board, and she did.

Her mother used to drop her off at the Santa Clarita Skate Park and she would roll around inside the concrete bowl for hours.

She took on the skateboard lifestyle — listened to rock music, dyed a blue streak in her hair in junior high and grew attached to her board.

Green says she was usually the only girl in a male-dominated skate park.

And you better believe she was competitive.

“Of course I wanted to be better than everyone,” Green says. “I always had to be the best. I would sit there and watch the boys, but I never was (better than them).”

But Green found fear after a fall where she dropped from the top of the bowl to the bottom on her hip.

Around the same time, she started high school and was set on playing tennis.

That’s until former West Ranch Athletic Director Dody Garcia saw her athleticism and suggested that she play basketball.

Green met Smith and despite it being after tryouts, he added her to the freshman team. Though he says she could have played on the junior varsity.

Green was a quick study and by her sophomore year, she was on varsity.

Last season was the breakthrough, though.

As a junior, she displayed not just this ability to defend and especially block shots, but this perpetual motion, machinelike style that wore out opponents.

She displayed it on both ends of the court.

All this defensive talk kind of takes away from the fact that she can score inside and outside.  

“She’s just a tough matchup for her size and to be as athletic as she is,” says Canyon head coach Chuck Johns. “She has that midrange jumper and she does have a motor. She moves on to the next play quickly.

“(Against us) she was trying to do everything she could to help her team win and wasn’t worried about points or shots or rebounds she got,” Johns adds. “She did as much as she could and she did.”

Even opposing coaches notice her kinetic style of play.

But it was stopped in early October.

West Ranch was playing a fall game at Monroe High School in North Hills and Green blocked a shot — of course.

She was coming down on offense, caught a pass and rose for a layup.

Green was undercut by an opponent and came down left arm first.

She began to scream, a broken bone bulging in her arm.

Green was immediately taken to the hospital.

“The doctor came in and the first thing I asked was, ‘When can I play basketball again?’” she recalls. “He said, ‘not till next season.’ I broke down and cried knowing I wasn’t playing my senior year. It was the worst experience.”

Green saw two wrist specialists and the second one gave her good news — she could be back in December.

And she was, after missing the Wildcats’ first eight games this season.

Now Green, six screws and a plate in her left arm, is playing for the Wildcats and making a difference.

“We’re a different team without her on the floor,” Smith says. “She’s one of our captains, leads our team with her spirit and effort.”

Green admits there was fear when she came back.

Even a little trepidation about blocking shots.

You wouldn’t have known.

The Sonoma State commit blocked eight Hart High shots in the Foothill League opener last Tuesday.

That truly illustrates who Hannah Green is.

And if one needs another word to describe her, Smith provides it.

He calls her “fierce.”

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